31st January 2010 - Once upon a time there was a very very naughty Teddy Bear. He lived happily on Bear Island with all his Teddy Bear friends, laughing and frolicking and generally just being a little bit naughty, until one day, The Teddy Bears had a picnic.
On this particular day Naughty Bear was being particularly naughty, but really wanted to go to the party. He bought a present and showed up but his friends were not very happy. It turns out that naughty Bear didn’t have as many friends as he thought.
“Piss off” they said; “You are far too naughty for our party”. Naughty Bear was ever so sad. He went back home, and vowed revenge. “@#!$ them” he thought out loud as he redirected his emotional rage away from his wrist and into the conveniently placed baseball bat near the door. “I’ll show them how naughty I can be”.
And this, boys and girls, is where our story begins.
If you think there was too much inflection in the above story, as an introduction to Artificial Mind and Movements upcoming game, think again. Naughty Bear is just that: One part postal, one part GTA, one part Manhunt and a whole lot of ‘Happy Tree friends’ in Teddy Bear land. It is dark, and completely not for children.
Naughty Bear is not the first game to dabble with adult animals in a cute otherwise ‘innocent’ setting. Conkers Bad Fur Day on the XBOX was a potty mouth of Turrets and vulgar gestures. After being rejected from the party the real fun for our ‘hero’ begins; Naughty Bear is an open world action/arcade game of puzzles and general driving around. The world is large with hubs or Islands to explore and unlock. In many ways think Mini Ninjas, except with a lot more naughtiness.
So what is all this naughty behavior we keep talking about? Bashing in heads with bats, running over innocent Teddy Bears and generally jumping out of bushes to scare them. Different tasks or ‘kills’ can get you different amounts of naughty points, used to unlock clothes, weapons and other parts of the islands. It would seem that maiming and gutting the poor toys is not as rewarding as setting an elaborate trap with candy and waiting in hiding. Bears do like candy…
The game is currently boasting over 30 levels to unlock, a slew of weapons and character customizing clothes and other affair to find. There are ‘police Bears’ so you have to watch out not to get nabbed.
Obviously someone over at Artificial Mind and Movement has Teddy issues or at least was not invited to too many parties as a kid. Because although the game looks fun and twisted in all the right places and will probably play very well there are a few issues.
The game looks like it is for kids. Unless it is explicitly rated MA how many kids are going to pick up the cute Teddy Bear game and get terribly terribly surprised. Second, most games including GTA have evolved beyond just the ‘senseless’ killing aspect. I mean the ONLY justification is that he got snubbed from a party and now he MUST kill everyone. It’s hilarious and ‘cool’ in a B grade fashion, but also pretty basic. Hence the whole game boils down to Postal in toy town.
There is a trade off that all this is an over reaction and as Stuffed Bears don’t bleed the point will be mute, but Google any video or image on this game and you will see Teddy Bear torture tactics and Naughty Bear holding an AK47 in an all too realistic fashion.
Hopefully there is a large dose of Parody and humor in this outing otherwise Naughty Bear might never see the light of day in Australia. Bed time stories, will never be the same.
Release Date: TBA 2010
Exclusively on: Xbox 360 (and PS3)
Genre: Action Adventure
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: A2M (Artificial Mind and Movement)
Preview By Ian Crane